Linear Circuit 1

Ben Oni,
Tuskegee University


The Linear circuit course introduces freshmen electrical and computer engineering students to foundation electrical circuit laws and principles. This course is purely lecture. The laboratory component of the course is taught separately.

Course Size:
less than 15

Course Format:
Students enroll in one course that includes both lecture and lab. The lecture is taught by the professor and the lab is taught by TAs.

Institution Type:
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course Context:

This is a mandatory first course for electrical and computer engineering students. The prerequisite is Calculus 1. The course represents the foundation on which subsequent electrical engineering courses are supported.

Course Content:

The course covers basic engineering laws and principles including: Kirchhoff's Laws, nodal analysis, mesh analysis, superposition, source transformation, RL and RC circuits, time constants, transient analysis, unit step function, combined steady state and transient analysis, analysis of RLC circuits. Introduction to Operational Amplifiers.

Course Goals:

As the gateway course on which subsequent electrical and computer engineering courses build upon, it is imperative that at the end of the course, students should possess strong working knowledge in the basic laws and principles of the electrical and computer engineering programs. The objectives for the program are:
1. Understand energy conversion process and basic electric transmission and distribution principles
2. Understand fundamental elements of electric circuits
3. Understand basic circuit concept and laws
4. Understand nodal and mesh analysis techniques for resistive circuits
5. Understand circuit theorems and source transformation
6. Understand operation and design with operational amplifiers
7. Understand capacitance, inductance, first order circuits
7. Explore the use of PSpice and Matlab in circuit analysis

Course Features:

The course is semester long. There is strong emphasis placed on understanding the basics of the course. Consequently, students are given quizzes every week to test basic understanding. To help students achieve learning goals, two non-traditional learning approaches are implemented including:
1. Using electronic board for lectures whereby the instructor's lecture notes as documented in classroom are stored and archived in Blackboard as a resource for students.
2. Homework is given as group assignments. Students in the class form groups of 3-4 students per group. This provides student-to-student learning opportunities to augment the traditional instructor-to-student learning flow.

Course Philosophy:

The emphasis in the course is that students should really develop a strong working knowledge of the course fundamentals. Hence every opportunity is provided to the students to acquire this fundamental knowledge. The idea of using electronic board and archiving class lecture notes on Blackboard is to allow students to listen and pay more attention to lectures, knowing that the class note is always available for them to access later. Additionally, students are given two chances to attempt a test before the test is reviewed and the solution provided. After the initial grading, test papers are given back to students and asked to take the test paper home to redo the problems they missed "on their own". By repeating the test at their leisure at home, they have the opportunity to think the problems through more thoroughly without the nervousness that sometimes impairs students performance in tests. The final score in the test is the sum of the first score and the special formulated score in the take-home redo. The score in the take-home redo is designed to emulate the "NFL half-the-distance to the goal-line rule" For example, if a student scores 60% in the initial test, the student can only get an additional maximum of (100-60)/2 in the re-do. In this case the student can end up with a final score of 80% maximum. The approach has been a win-win situation for faculty and student respectively, in that the faculty wants the students to learn and the students want to earn higher grade. Students are also given bonus points for active participation in class discussion.


Assessment is through tests, quizzes and group homework.


References and Notes:

Fundamentals of Electric Circuit, Charles K. Alexander and Mathew N. O. Sadiku, 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2016.
1. The book is easier to understand than other similar books.
2. The book has more worked example problems than other similar books
3. The book provides more solutions to problems than other similar books